Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tencel in Lenzing Annual Reports 2010 - Part 1

This report has more on Tencel and Lenzing's enthusiasm for the Courtaulds concept of the Cellulose Gap than any previous report and will be split over 2 posts...

... market experts expect that cotton will not be able to sufficiently fulfill demand for high quality fibers boasting high wearing comfort despite the extensive use of genetically modified cotton plants. This shortage will lead to a so called “cellulose gap” which cannot be fi lled on the basis of the anticipated growth of production volumes for man-made cellulose fi bers at the present time. Additional factors in Lenzing’s favor are the outstanding technical properties of Lenzing fibers as well as the fact that the company is the only global supplier which can offer all three generations of man-made cellulose fibers, i.e. Lenzing Viscose., Lenzing Modal. and TENCEL.

Lenzing “Full Win”

On the basis of these fundamental considerations, Lenzing redefined its strategic objectives leading up to the year 2014 as follows: 

More than one million tons of Lenzing fibers are to be produced and marketed annually, of which more than one-third are specialty fibers  (Lenzing Modal., TENCEL.), enabling an average double-digit percentage sales growth and a simultaneous margin improvement, with about 700,000 tons of the required pulp supply derived from its own production capabilities.

Lenzing aims to achieve these targets by implementing the biggest expansion program in its corporate history, with expansion investments planned at almost all of its production facilities across the globe.

The positive market development in the second half of 2009 continued in 2010 as well. Demand for Lenzing fibers on the part of the textile and nonwovens industry could only be partially satisfied despite the expansion of production capacities in 2010.

The reason for this development was the long-term market trend towards the increased use of Lenzing Viscose., Lenzing Modal and TENCEL. fibers as described in the previous section of this report. In addition, the overall economic recovery combined with a broad-based upturn in private consumption also contributed to growth. In fact, the markets in Asia tended 
to overheat as a result already in the first half of 2010. Ultimately cotton prices exploded as of the third quarter 2010 due to the perceived danger of a physical shortage as a consequence of flood catastrophes in Pakistan and India. This
prematurely ended the expected normalization of the price situation in the second half of the year.

The TENCEL production facility in Heiligenkreuz, Austria also raised total capacity by 10,000 tons to about 60,000tons as of the 2011 business year thanks to a corresponding investment program. The TENCEL factory in Grimsby (Great Britain) carried out refurbishment investments, allowing for a considerable increase in production capacities for the TENCEL specialty fiber A-100 although total capacity remained the same.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tencel in Lenzing Annual Reports (2009)

Tencel sales in Textiles begin to recover and the fibre is mentioned in Business Unit Textiles for the first time in a few years:

Sales of TENCEL® fibers were equally gratifying. Although the demand for TENCEL® for textile applications declined somewhat during the first months of 2009, Lenzing succeeded in gaining a strong market position for innovative fiber blends with cotton, in particular in the denim segment. TENCEL® applications for home textiles developed equally well after considerable marketing and development activity in the preceding years. Sales of flame retardant fibers for military applications remained stable whereas industrial protective applications declined due to the general economic situation.

...and in Business Unit Nonwovens the Wipes and Webs story continues.

Specialty wipes in the reporting year benefited from two factors. Firstly, the new flu raised awareness of prevention by hygienic measures and caused the demand for wipes with anti-bacterial action to rise. Secondly, consumers buying disposable products, such as wipes, increasingly opt for environmentally friendly alternatives. The certification of the TENCEL® fiber as fully biodegradable made Lenzing a global pioneer in this field. For example, a major US retailer in 2009 became a TENCEL® customer for its store brand of baby wet wipes. The company explains the ecological advantages of the Lenzing fiber on the package.  In technical applications, business unit Nonwoven Fibers emphasized its focus on niche products with future potential, such as components for hybrid drives and solar energy devices.

The cooperation with Weyerhaeuser started in 2008 for developing novel nonwovens products based on lyocell recorded further progress. In June 2009 a pilot plant for the production of TencelWebTM went operational at the Lenzing site. The plant produces novel cellulose nonwovens materials made from the raw material wood using the meltblown process. The product is an ecologically sound alternative to nonwovens products made from crude oil – an example of a sustainable climate policy for the industrial consumer market with positive effects on CO2 reduction. 


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tencel in Lenzing Annual Reports (2008)

More extracts from Lenzing's Annual Reports...

In "Business Unit Textiles" the main message on Tencel appears in the photo below. 

 Sportswear is the key, but Home Textiles also gets a brief mention:

Tencel® Eco Bed, a special application for natural bed-linen, received the award as the best organic ecological product in the home textile sector in the USA.

Of more interest once again is "Business Unit Nonwovens" with the first mention in Annual Reports of Robert Smith and Malcolm Hayhurst's work on TencelWeb(tm):

Lenzing and the US company Weyerhaeuser, a global leader in forestry products, came to a basic agreement on the development of novel lyocell-based nonwovens products. The goal is to create an alternative to petrol-based plastics in the nonwovens sector by manufacturing convenience products for industry and hygiene on an industrial scale.

This project is the latest manifestation of "spunlaid cellulose" which first appeared in Courtaulds Research in the 1960's and was proposed for Tencel in 1988.  However I don't think anyone in Courtaulds saw it as an "alternative to petrol-based plastics in nonwovens".  We saw it as a way of making high-value 100% cellulose absorbent nonwovens for medical, hygiene and wiping markets at lower cost by virtue of direct-from-dope production in a Tencel plant.

Alluded to for the first time is the highly successful carboxymethylation of Tencel carried out by Hardev Bahia and Tom Burrow and commercialised by Courtaulds Research during the 90's.  The resulting hydrogel appeared first as the superabsorbent "SuperNova" fibre for tampons, and then "Hydrocel" which Convatec used to make the Aquacel range of wound dressings:

Product group medical applications manufactures upmarket cellulose fiber specialities. The focus of activity was placed on the successful implementation of innovative products, such as cellulose hydrogels for demanding wound care and also in cosmetics.

(More to come on these specialities)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tencel in Lenzing Annual Reports (2007)

More paragraphs extracted from the Lenzing annual reports...

There's no mention of Tencel in the section on "Business Unit Textile Fibres" or in the section on R&D. However under "Business Unit Nonwovens" we read:

The success of products based on TENCEL® nonwovens was remarkable. The convenience product sector grew considerably. Wipes for a broad range of applications – from hygiene and cleaning to medical applications – were much in demand. Sales of Lenzing fibers for technical applications increased as well. The unique properties of cellulose fibers, in particular TENCEL® enabled the implementation in new market segments such as the automotive industry, filtration technology and medical technology.  (see also Tencel Product development 1985-94)

In "Competition Rulings in Favour of Lenzing"...
The European Court of Justice, as court of last resort, ruled in favor of Lenzing...and that Lenzing had not received unjustified subsidies for its [Lyocell] production site at Heiligenkreuz (Austria)

Also, in "The evaluation of fiber sustainability" we read of a study showing Lenzing's viscose and modal to have less environmental impact than Tencel, all being better than cotton:

A comprehensive evaluation of fiber sustainability with regard to consumption of non-renewable resources, emission of greenhouse gases, impact on human well-being and impairment of ecosystems requires a holistic approach, in other words the compilation of a life cycle assessment. Using standardized methodology, a life cycle assessment for Lenzing Viscose®, Lenzing Modal® and TENCEL® in direct comparison with cotton, polyester and propylene fibers was carried out in collaboration with Martin Patel and Li Shen of the Copernicus Institute of Utrecht

The evaluation of environmental impact was conducted according to the CML* method, developed at Leiden University considering the following indicators:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Tencel in Lenzing Annual Reports (2005,2006)

Apart from photos of Naomi Campbell being replaced by, amongst others, Robert Smith and Dave Hoyland (see below) the 2005 Annual Report was notable for the paucity of anything worth extracting on lyocell or Tencel.

The revisionist definition of lyocell appears...
A novel fiber, developed by Lenzing, produced by an environmentally very 
sound solvent process. Its properties enable the design and production of new and innovative products. TENCEL® is the Lenzing brand for lyocell fibers.

...and the resolution to last year's cliff-hanger...
The Austrian cartel court approved the acquisition of the Tencel group at the beginning of April 2005. The approval was preceded by an agreement with Austrian cartel offices including several conditions and reservationsThe protracted proceedings, however, lead to a EUR 1.5 mill. fine for Lenzing, affecting the 2005 result. 

The 2006 report was less interesting with the usual Tencel puff and mention of R&D developing a non-fibrillating version for textiles - see also A100; Grimsby 1999

Robert Smith

David Hoyland in front